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tv   Headline News  RT  May 13, 2013 8:00pm-8:30pm EDT

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coming up on r t today it was revealed that the u.s. justice department has been monitoring the associated press for months this included collecting the telephone records of a.p. reporters and editors will take a deeper look into this government violation of press freedom. in the battle of david versus goliath on the field of agriculture the highest courts in the nation has actually sided with the corporate giants next we'll tell you the deciding factor in the case of an indiana farmer versus monsanto. nearly a month after the deadly explosion of a west texas fertilizer plant state investigators are now launching a criminal investigation into the blast meanwhile authorities are now questioning a first responder will bring you the latest information coming up.
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it's monday may thirteenth eight pm in washington d.c. i'm going lopez and you are watching r.t. we begin tonight with a developing story the associated press is now reporting that the u.s. justice department has secretly obtained two months worth of phone records that reports from reporters and editors and what the a.p. calls a massive and unprecedented intrusion into how the news organizations gather information records were seized from bureaus in washington d.c. new york as well as hartford connecticut records were also taken from the a.p. as press gallery line in the house of representatives in total the records from twenty phone lines were gathered incorporating some one hundred journalists the government would not say why it sought the records a.p. president and c.e.o. gary pruitt demanded that the records be returned he said quote we regard this action by the department of justice as a serious interference with constitutional rights to gather and report the news
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while we evaluate our options we urgently request that you. merely returns the a.p. the telephone toll records that the department subpoenaed and destroy all copies per it went on to say that this collection of phone records could not be could actually compromised numerous confidential sources for all types of reports for the latest on the case i'm joined now by matthew feeney he's an associate editor at reason twenty four seven thank you so much for joining me so what is the latest information coming out of this case obviously i just gave a little bit of background but what type of information specifically did the d.o.j. extract from these types of phone records well at the moment with a developing story but what we know at the moment is that it was records of telephone calls between certain journalists and editors in the associated press. specifically regarding it as i worked on a particular story about a terrorist plot that the cia foiled in yemen that was supposed to mark the anniversary of osama bin laden's death so what types of information could they
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possibly assist extract from these phone records if they were wiretapping specifically what could what kind of information could they get from simple phone number well i think what they're trying to find out is. the associated press journalists and others were speaking to so the story obviously regarded it was dealing with some rather sensitive and confidential information the obama administration did not want the media to report on the story because of potential national security issues of it once official said that these concerns were no longer in place this is he did press reported the story even though officials at the white house would prefer not to have and that's what seems to have landed them in some trouble one that has possibly the most interesting aspect of this entire case is that this was all of valving what we think it is involving is a may seventh two thousand and twelve story that a.p. actually discovered and reported about a foil to terrorists a plot that was happening from yemen from an airliner that was reportedly coming from yemen now the point of the case the interesting point of this case is that
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a.p. actually approached the government they said we have this information. we want to go to press with that but we wanted to do you justice and tell you we have this the government said let's hold back for a little bit a.p. did so they didn't have to but they did so adverse effect of the government and then they went ahead when the government gave the go ahead a car see obama administration didn't want them to so what's with this back and forth obviously if he wasn't trying to be shadowy in its dealings it told the government what was going on after all you know i think you know this is still a developing story but it seems at the moment that the associated press. is actually quite normal for news agencies to do when dealing with sensitive information like this and did approach the government and the response by the obama administration or the palm of justice has been really interesting as as i said to the scale and scope of the record seized is really remarkable and should worry people well and what we do know is that the justice department has very strict rules when it comes to subpoenaing phone records particularly from news organizations
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a subpoena can be considered only after all reasonable attempts have been made to get some information from other sources was that done in this case do we know it doesn't appear to have been done at least in the way that news agencies expected to be done and you know these. these measures are in place in order to protect people and to protect the freedom of speech that exists in this country sort of the you know it's really important i feel that you know whistle blows feel that they can be protected and it's a shame that has stepped on that assurance sure and do we know if he was contacted at all by the justice department trying to get this information is that is that clear at this point from the reports that i've been reading it's clear and it's very interesting that we don't even know if they were approached if they were asked for this kind of information and what kind of information they might have actually given to the government now another point to that is kind of interesting in this story is that a subpoena to the media must be as narrowly drawn as possible to actually effect is
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few stories as possible and if you confidential sources as possible that obviously wasn't the case in this story right now that you know well it's possible i feel you very very hard for the government to claim that the subpoena was released code given the you know the scale of. journalists and records who were investigated now let's talk about the fact of these leaks and the kind of contradiction that we have when it comes to leaks in this country obviously the obama administration said that it was going to go after the person or the persons who might have leaked this information of this may seventh two thousand and twelve terror plot that was foiled john brennan was actually questioned in his in his confirmation hearing whether he was one of the people that leaked it now on one hand we have the obama administration going after after people trying to figure out who leaked this one on the other hand there's reports of them leaking stocks net information in the olympic games information when it comes to iran centrifuges we have information of
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them working with the movie industry when it comes to zero dark thirty so can you talk a little bit about the good leaks versus the badly well what if your opinion on leaks is going to be you would hope that there was at least a consistent policy towards them and the reason why all of these practices are in place also protected. people but do leak information that they think is in the public interest and it is interesting that the obama straits has been especially harsh on some people who do whistle blow considering their own. of their own leaks as you pointed out now given the fact that the story is still very new and a lot of information is still yet to be determined how can we really compare and contrast whether or not there is a check and balances that is what the media is there for after all to check and balance the government and vice versa but if the government is using these records subpoenas to to gather this information then how can there be that sense of check and balance where they can't really if the government is going to continue and do this sort of thing and obviously it's a developing story and we'll have to see what the outcome of all of this is but
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it's should worry people who believe in free press so this is happening absolutely should worry in obviously the story is still developing the a.p. was actually the ones to report on this story a story about their selves and they actually were not the this is not the first time that something like this has happened matthew feeney is an associate editor at reason twenty four seventh's thank you for joining us and thanks for having me well it's one step forward for a biotech giant monsanto one major leap backward for g.m.o. critics the u.s. supreme court handed down a decision today in favor of the mega company in a unanimous decision the justices ruled that indiana farmer vernon hugh bowman violated the company's patent on its genetically modified soybeans when he planted them for harvest without one santos permission or to correspondent liz wahl routes out the evidence in this case. it's a supreme court decision with far reaching consequences for patents food and farmers the supreme court today ruled unanimously that an indiana farmer violated
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agra giant monsanto's seed patents you know there are certain things that the law prohibits what it prohibits here is making a copy of the patent adventure and that is what he did the case brought seventy five year old indiana farmer vernon you boman up against monsanto an enormous agricultural corporation that owns more than half the world seed market i don't know what but i could see nothing what i done was wrong monsanto requires farmers to buy it seeds genetically modified to resist this weed killer but boman bought and planted second generation seeds from a grain elevator if they don't want me to go to the elevator and buy the grain then then congress should pass a law saying you can't do it the ruling written by justice elena kagan says quote if simple copying were a protected use a patent would plummet in value after the first sale of the first item containing
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the invention the undiluted patent monopoly it might be sad would extend not for twenty years before only one transaction and that would result in less incentive for innovation than congress wanted but consumer and organic food groups a food am living things should be viewed differently we're not talking about the latest cell phone we're not talking about you know fancy new technology this is about whether people going to be afford be able to afford to forment afford to the supreme court decision would come as a sigh of relief for companies that invent products that are able to copy itself but when it comes to food consumers may be paying the price for soybeans corn and cotton and the cost for farmers to plant the seeds has skyrocketed between one thousand nine hundred five to two thousand and eleven the cost per. acre rose three hundred twenty five percent this according to the center for food safety this farmer is saying i bought that word next generation removed from what you patented
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that patent should apply here anymore in month santa saying the patent place forever for farmers like bowman the supreme court decision means they better pay up to use monsanto seed no matter where they come from and from monsanto and agra jain with massive lobbying power another victory in washington liz wahl r.t. well mark walters joined me a little bit earlier today to discuss the case of the seventy five year old indiana farmer in greater detail walters is the man's lawyer and him is also a seattle patent attorney for an partner far from our lawrence and long l.l.p. i asked him what evidence swayed the supreme court's decision to side with monsanto you know it's tough to say what went on in their deliberations behind closed doors but there were a lot of briefs filed in support of monsanto from the biotech community there were about eighteen or so of the case briefs filed by the industry. below companies like
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plane air universities and you know other biotech interests and then on our on our side we had the small farmers and it's it's difficult to to organize them we did have some support but we had about five or six amicus briefs filed in support of our side and so i think the policy arguments here from the industry one adds over the small farmers policy arguments so is this the end of the line for your client. you know it's the end of the line for mr bowman he's got now a judgment that is sitting against him for about eighty five thousand dollars so. it's the end of the line for him on that particular judgment however i do hope and expect that he and other small farmers will continue to fight to try and clarify this law in congress and that eighty five thousand dollars isn't even to mention all of the lawyers say is that is that he's going to have to pay can you talk about
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just how big of an impact this is going to be on this particular farmer and then we'll start talking about the bigger picture well we took his representation pro bono because you know we believe in the rule of law and we believe that everybody should have a voice and a defense to these claims. so that part is not going to be way too much on him he's a single guy and he wanted to stand up against a monsanto and he knew that at the end of this if he wasn't going to be successful they were probably going to start trying to collect from whatever assets he asked mark talk about the precedent that this case set for future monsanto lawsuits as we know monsanto doesn't win the majority of its office cases that it does bring to court. that's right i mean the what this decision means for monsanto is that it's now ninety five percent of the acreage is already roundup ready and
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all of those farmers are technically infringing monsanto's patents they get to use this technology not because they have a right to use it because they own the seed that they purchased but because months and so dictates the terms at which they can use them so every single farmer who grows around up ready seeds is an infringer it doesn't matter how they obtain the seed they could have bought it on the open market like my client did it could have bought it at a farmer's market could have bought it from their neighbor it could have blown on their property and now every single time roundup ready seed germinates somebody is responsible for infringement and it's going to be the farmer in all those cases so it makes an infringer out of about ninety five percent of the farmers and it makes them beholden to one single corporation to dictate the terms at which they can use property that they purchased and that they own out right now like you just talked
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about the effect that this has on local farmers let's talk about the effect that has on consumers like you and me and our food prices if you could care to explain. well one of the immediate impacts is going to be less information for the consumer on what goes into their food there are a number of initiatives to try and label the foods through this through the state laws. and those have hit a number of roadblocks one thing that we had hoped from this decision is that if month santo was going to require farmers who purchase from a grain elevator to be liable for infringement that they would that would also require the farm for the seed companies to segregate the seed at the grain elevator to give farmers a choice to buy conventional versus roundup ready now when it comes to soy they're all intermixed together at the grain elevator so the source of soy in this country is all commingled and there's no separation so because the initial source of the
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story is commingle and not going to going to be separated at the grain elevator there will be less information for consumers to be able to know what they're buying it is free of genetic modification mark salter says a very interesting thank you for your insights marc is a seattle patent attorney and partner at former laurenson hong l.l.p. . experience a criminal investigation has now been launched to look into the cause of a massive explosion at a plant in texas but i'm. sure that. the west texas fertilizer plant turned into a fireball on the evening of april seventeenth fourteen people were killed and nearly two hundred others were injured the blast was so big that it registered as a two point one magnitude and was actually felt some fifty miles away now until late last week the incident was treated as an accident sixty investigators have
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interviewed some four hundred eleven witnesses resulting in no fewer than two hundred fifty leaves you have the right those same investigators have been able to conclusively rule out whether natural causes and hydrous ammonia and ammonium nitrate storage as the potential causes of this explosion now they have opened a criminal investigation to look into that blast and in a strange twist one of the first responders on the scene has been found with a pipe bomb though authorities say that the two cases are unrelated for more on the investigation i was joined earlier by r t correspondent ramon go indo who actually cover these explosions from west texas and i started off by asking him if there was any indication why the authorities have only now decided to launch this criminal investigation. sure was that the announcement from the texas state department of public safety came out on friday announcing that they were instructions instructing texas rangers and the mcclelland county sheriff's department to open up their own
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criminal investigation now we have to remember that a.t.f. the bureau of alcohol tobacco and fire and the texas a and the texas state marshal's office has been investigating this from the start as a criminal investigation however as you mentioned there have been hundreds of interviews and hundreds of leads which the state of texas then says that made them go into this new criminal investigation being launched by the sheriff's department now the state will only say that they don't want to leave any stone unturned and they want to give the community you know some confidence that every angle of the investigation is being looked at they don't want to anybody to jump to conclusions to indicate that there was any of play but they want to make sure that every stone that there is no stone unturned however it does the timing is a little bit suspicious because there was that arrest of the first responder also late last week and we'll get to that arrest in just a little bit but i am i need a little more on an explanation if you could from on are they watching this problem
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to quell criticism or because they believe that there is credible evidence that there was foul play. right and they they won't say that there is any sort of credible evidence and they want to make sure that to say that as of right now there's no specific link between the arrests and any fellow play that have been there they know that it was in a natural occurrence they think that right now it could still be an accident or it could be something having to do that somebody put something there deliberately you know i called all the agencies involved in the investigation about any other possible rests they were unable to get back to me or told me that they are unable to give any more details as they move forward in their investigation as i understand it ramon at the same time that this criminal problems announced one of the first responders to the same was arrested for possession of the necessary elements to actually create that pipe bomb can you talk a little bit more about this man's case and i also understand that you were present
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when the man was actually giving a eulogy at a memorial for one of the first responders can you talk about those of us this bit of information sure it was just hours before it was announced that the state and county were launching their own criminals occasion it was announced that the a.t.f. had arrested thirty one year old bryce reed now bryce reed is a volunteer west far paramedic who happened to be fired just two days after the emergency and now the sheriff's department says that they went to a home in abbott texas near west of an acquaintance of reed was given a box which contained explosive material according to a complaint by the a.t.f. bryce reed admitted to being in possession to those materials and then he was arrested however over the weekend his. attorney said that he is not guilty that he is not in any way linked to the explosion and bryce reed is a very interesting character because he was seen all over the town of west in the
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aftermath of the explosion consoling families and he even spoke at the memorial which was attended by president obama and spoke for more than. fellow firefighters i was reading who was killed in the explosion a very simple solution and as we said earlier there is no known at link between this man and the explosion so far this plant has been under investigation since two thousand and six and it is fallen under the scrutiny of. material companies it's fallen under the scrutiny of the e.p.a. ramon belinda thank you so much for your reporting and please keep us updated as the story develops. well a mother's day celebration parade in new orleans actually turned into chaos over the weekend when three suspected gunmen opened fire on a crowd of spectators nineteen people were injured including two children the shooting happened in the seventh ward neighborhood it's an area that is described as a mix of low and middle income families the f.b.i. says this shows a flaring up of street violence in the city police are now hunting for the men
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responsible for this crime they have released numerous pictures and are asking the public to help identify these suspects our senior national correspondent maureen of course has the latest well so far they have been no arrests announced but we do know that the new orleans police department has released grainy surveillance video they released early monday morning showing a possible suspect in connection to the mother's day parade shooting in the footage you can see the crowd suddenly scattering in all directions with some falling to the ground it appears as though parade goers are running from a man who turns and runs out of the picture and the person is wearing a white t. shirt and dark pants the image isn't very clear but police are still hoping that someone will recognize the perpetrator and notify investigators police posted a series of still images from that grainy video on you tube as well there's also been a ten thousand dollars reward offered. and indictments in this case now law enforcement
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officials believe that more than one gone was fired sunday afternoon now by sunday evening a law enforcement officials were speculating that at least three people were connected possibly to the mother's day parade shooting an f.b.i. spokesperson characterized the shooting as street violence with no connection to terrorism now the victims from this shooting includes ten men seven women a boy and a girl both ten years old children were reportedly grazed by a bullet but they are said to be in good condition at least three victims however were seriously wounded this is connected to the ongoing debate in the united states over gun control a debate that has this country essentially divided look what u.s. president barack obama wanted to do with his legislation that failed in the senate was that he wanted to force tougher background checks on people that were attempting to buy a weapon now if investigators in new orleans ultimately find the weapons that were
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responsible for the shooting and they find out that those weapons were not registered were not were not sold to the people that use them or the people that use them got them illegally that goes back to the. gun control debate that goes back to what many want to do in strengthening access to firearms is have the proper procedures for people who want to buy a firearm so it's not clear yet if these guns that were used were illegally obtained but if they were that speaks to the debate that is ongoing in the united states that is sensually still getting a lot of attention but not much traction when it comes to enforcing more gun control those are key international correspondent more enough. why in our democracy congress in large part is the post to represent the will of the american people but on a day to day basis that may be so difficult when so many politicians in the capitol building have more monetary worth than most americans for
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a look at the checkbooks of our congress members the residents laurie hard for them . members of congress in the u.s. are required to file annual financial disclosure reports which detail information about their money many independent sources including the center for responsive politics the washington post and political fact have used to those reports alongside other sources of information to determine this pretty crazy fact forty seven percent of our congress members are millionaires the crazy part is they tend
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to get richer in office and that's no coincidence they get richer in many unsavory ways one is by using the private information they obtained in office to make trades in the stock market and although they aren't supposed to do that it's pretty obvious they do many of them who sat in health care legislative meetings made investment in health stocks that magically skyrocketed right before the market crashed in two thousand and eight many of them invested in instruments that went up in value because the market went down so either congress people are precious and miss or they use information they get behind closed doors to make huge profits for themselves and then there are earmarks where congress people take your federal money and then your tax dollars for projects that will benefit them directly take nancy pelosi she owns an office building in san francisco she secured about nine
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hundred million dollars in federal earmarks to build a light rail system that would surprise me. only stuff right by her own building once the project is completed the value of her building could skyrocket as much as one hundred and fifty percent the other works you can bet your kind of people do then of course there is the word baldwin door where members of congress agreed to do the bidding of lobbyists and corporations while they're in office and in exchange they get big fat salaries and jobs when they get out of congress seventy percent of members of congress left office since ninety ninety eight has gone to work as a lobbyist a good example is congressman and shuler he voted on many key energy bills he just left congress them but now he's the new features vice president of the federal affairs for duke energy a company that spend millions on lobbying in washington schuler's net worth is
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estimated to be anywhere from two to ten million the bottom line is american almost half of your congresspeople are millionaires and many of them got that read by using their powers in office do you really think there is there to represent you or to gain wealth for themselves the answer is pretty obvious so the real question is how is this massive conflict of interest legal oh why it's because congress writes the rules themselves. if any time we started making a big stink about this american tonight let's talk about that by following me on twitter at the read that. nancy speaking of congress when you think of all the times that you have seen lawmakers play the whining about what people on the other side of the aisle are
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doing do you ever feel like the government is being run by a bunch of children while in one town in minnesota that is actually the case every year the town of door set a town that is so small that it doesn't even have its own zip code anymore it holds a drawing to pick the next mayor this time around four year old bobby tuffs was awarded the position he is the youngest mayor in history he also knows an awful lot about the best fishing spots in the town as well as the best bait to use now this is of course just a symbolic position and no one has asked to see his birth certificate yet to make sure that he's an american citizen after all his mayor or mayor oral duties now include helping people cross the street as well as singing and dancing which is more that can be said for certain other lawmakers currently holding office in this country and that's made it for now for more of the stories we covered go to youtube dot com slash r.t. america.
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download the official publication. stream quality and enjoy your favorite. if you're away from your television. now with your mobile device so you can watch your ti anytime anywhere. that afternoon a welcome to prime interest i'm boring here in washington d.c. here's a story that we're tracking today. has a half speed actually. close as media confidant penned to articles in the wall street journal over the weekend.

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